Hot Messes Need Not Apply

Inner Glow Circle-Inner Glow Circle-0225.jpg

It's come to my attention that I’ve been doing a really great job making it seem like my life and business are kinda perfect. I’ve been showing everyone all of the good parts and leaving out the mess. I’ve shed light on everything beautiful that I’ve created, from babies to businesses, but haven’t painted the full picture of the turbulent, chaotic, abusive and wildly disastrous path that got me here.


Read: I’ve hidden my “hot mess” factor pretty well.


Well, let me take a bow… and then exit stage left and lift the curtain for a moment:


My life was and still is very messy.


Being in a leadership role, I don’t like to show the mess much. Plus, having an ego and a desire to avoid judgement definitely keeps me quiet about a lot of the pain that’s tinged my life from an early age. I am a very private person when it comes to my personal life and have literally only let a select few people in on what really goes on in the past 30+ years.


(Is there a prize for that?)


But, also being in this leadership role I have to tell you the truth. I have to address this absurd idea that you have to have a perfect upbringing, joyous childhood, easy life, etc. in order for people to trust you and hire you as a coach.


I was leading coach training the other day and one of the women said, “Yea, but Olivia, I’m not like you. My whole life has been a series of disasters. It’s easy for you to run a coaching business because you have it all together.”


Truth is: I’m actually pleased to hear that it looks like I have it all together. I’ve been perfecting the whole, “make everyone think everything’s okay and that I’m normal” since I was about 8 years old. I’m not going to lie though, these last 5 years as coach, entrepreneur and partner in a non codependent relationship have been some of the easiest and most “normal” in my life. But, that’s all because the 25ish before were like a never-ending roller coaster of anxiety, codependency, abuse, mental illness, alcoholism, rage, blame, shame, guilt and anger.


It wasn’t until I found coaching that I FINALLY got off that roller coaster (mostly).


See, I am the product of a very broken home. Most of my childhood memories have been erased, presumably by my survival mechanism which is most likely protecting me from remembering all of the abuse. I can’t really remember the full stories, but I do remember flashes of anger, constant worrying and being curled up in a ball under the covers plugging my ears.


My college and young adult years were more of the same. But this time, most of the chaos was self-created. Alcohol, abuse, anger, anxiety and the creation of more codependency, of course.  As much as I wanted to feel normal and be normal, I was recreating what I knew as a child. If someone loves me, I have to pick fights with them and have anger-fueled altercations, right?


It wasn’t until a fateful encounter brought me to coaching that I would start to see these patterns and start taking action to breakup with the anger, anxiety and chaos that I had brought into my adult life.


Sometimes I still question why this is my life; why me?  Sometimes I still create chaos, anxiety and resort to anger. Sometimes I still entertain the codependent relationships with family members, because I am afraid of what would happen if I didn’t. Sometimes I still communicate from anger, because there is some strange comfort in the familiarity of it. And, it was literally only this past Christmas, at my childhood home, that I was hiding upstairs under the covers trying to drown out the fighting downstairs.


I do NOT have it all together

I do NOT have a “normal” life

Sometimes, I am a huge fucking mess.


My messy childhood which I have held onto, even only in bits and pieces as an adult, is still a mess. I haven’t actually escaped all of the pain and the chaos, anger and dysfunction still trickle in.


And here’s a shocker: starting a coaching business hasn’t miraculously made everything okay in my life. Better? Yes. More equipped to handle the pain? Yes. More likely to choose to NOT experience the chaos? Yes.


Erased the mess and turned me into a superhuman, fully enlightened woman? Hell no.


Makes me a better coach and businesswoman? Absolutely.


If it wasn’t for living in the dark for so long, I would not know how valuable the light was. If I hadn’t been knocked down, hopes let down or left hurt over and over again, I would probably not be able to handle the failures in business as well. If I didn’t have so many experiences with loss, abuse, pain and tragedy, I wouldn’t connect as deeply as I do now with clients and students.


Having it all together is not what makes coaches great. It’s their ability to take the shittiest of situations and move themselves, move their clients, out of them. It’s to keep going, despite one obstacle after the next and to trust that your version of fulfillment is available. It’s understanding that no matter how bad it gets, we have the power to do something else, or take a small step forward.


I actually think my “hot mess” factor is one of my best assets. And so is yours.


Don’t bring me your perfect life. Don’t show me all of the “on paper” reasons why you would make a great coach or entrepreneur. Show me all of your messes. Show me all of your pain. Show me everything that you made it through to bring you to this course, this business.


Your ability to be in the mess is what will make you the best entrepreneur and your messy path to get here will be someone else’s inspiration to get to where they want to go.


I’m sorry if I wasn’t clear about this in my other posts.

I’m sorry if I made you feel like your imperfect messiness wasn’t part of the recipe for success as a coach.

I’m sorry if I ever made you question your ability to coach, because I’ve been showing you only the “best parts” of my life.


Your biggest messes can be your biggest assets in this business, trust me.


If you're ready to bring your full self (mess and all) to the table as coach, the world needs you more than ever. Click here to learn about Inner Glow Circle's Coach Training program, and snag one of the few remaining spots for fall 2017. I'd love to see you there! 













Expensive Hobby or Business?


Has your business become your expensive hobby?

A couple weeks ago my good friend and VA Laura voice-texted me all upset over something that happened in Barnes and Noble. When she was perusing the business magazine section, she couldn't find a particular magazine for women in business. It was "in stock" according to the computers, so why wasn't it in the business section of the magazine shelves?

Well, this particular women in business magazine was in stock. It was in stock in the women's lifestyle and hobbies section alongside Glamour, InStyle and Quilting Magazine. 

Interesting....insulting? Infuriating? Well yes, those are my original thoughts, too. 

Why aren't the women- focused business magazines in the business section? Why aren't they with the Forbes, the Business Insider, Fast Company and Entrepreneur? 

What does this mean for women in business? Are our businesses not as "business-y" as men's? Why are they separate? Are they just hobbies? Are they interest areas like arts and crafts or fashion? 

Does this even matter? Are we over-reacting? I don't know--but it got me thinking. 

Are women-owned businesses not taken as seriously as male-owned businesses? Because of this, is there part of our female subconscious that doesn't believe being CEO and business person is worthy of us? Is there part of us that's just playing in business but never really going full force and all in? 

Because of the nature of my business, I see and talk to a lot of women who are playing, dabbling. They throw things out there, hope it works, change their niche, switch their offers, tweak their websites all while slowly leaking their savings/credit in hopes that something will work out and they will become profitable. Not to say that these women aren't potentially serious entrepreneurs, buried beneath a little fear and uncertainty , but perhaps our patriarchal culture is partially to blame for this. BUT with this awareness, now what? How can you get out of play mode and be ALL IN?

I'm the first to admit that I have shrunk down my power in the presence of a more accomplished businessman. I've been hesitant to OWN my multi 6-figure business model and management of two high-performing companies and over 10 incomes streams in a room full of "traditional business owners". But these businesses are no expensive hobbies--they are profitable and real businesses with systems, structures and high-level support that keeps them running (mostly) with ease. I've invested thousands and thousands of dollars and continues to do so regularly, as for me, this is what is required to be all in on my vision. 

Now it's your turn. Is your business "business enough" for you? Do you have programs, offers, services and systems in place that you can confidently talk about and that are profitable? Or, are you slowly hemorrhaging money here and there into something that you sort of love, but aren't really sure about? Are you investing your time, energy and money into a real business or is it more or less a hobby? 

Going ALL IN is essential if you want to become profitable and sustainable. ALL IN doesn't have to mean that you're putting your last $1000 into your biz and hoping to survive (although it might),  but it does mean that you are fully 100% invested energetically and you trust that your business mission, model and vision are set up for success. It means making informed, empowered decisions, trusting yourself and being consistent. It means taking risks in service of growth and yes, it means ditching back-up plans that allow your biz to be thought of as "maybe this will work out, but it's okay if it doesn't".

So regardless of where the women in business magazines are (well if you go to the Nashville Barnes and Noble, they are now in the Business section, thanks to Laura), you have the power to be full force in your business and start looking at it like the empire it's becoming. If we can't physically move all of the women in biz magazines from the lifestyle/hobby section into the full-on biz section, let's at least move our own businesses there. Now. 



Why Your "One Foot Out the Door" Plan Won't Work

I’m eating ice cream in bed at 10:30pm on a Friday night and I can’t fall asleep because I can’t stop thinking (plus, the sugar--duh). I’ve been reflecting on a theme that keeps echoing in my mind, my community and my social media feeds. I know when I keep getting the same thing on repeat that my intuition is quite literally telling me to work through this, don’t ignore it, process it, share it.

So let’s talk about it: are you fully in or do you have one foot out the door?

Someone once told me that part time commitment yields part time results. I didn’t want to believe this at first because “part time commitment” felt so much safer. Being part-time committed to anything seems way less risky than full-time anything. God forbid I got too excited, too invested, too determined and too devoted to one thing.

The higher you jump the harder you fall, right?  

I remember at one point at the beginning of my coaching business I actually wrote out a full on back up plan, just in case. Before that I was quite literally part time in my coaching business, picking up odd jobs here and there, distracting myself with any number of things that kept me from being fully in as a coach. Of course quitting my job to start a business was one thing, one external thing, that felt bold and liberating. But going energetically all in? Going all in sans back up plan, side job, or distractions, going all in without the constant worry...that was a whole different ball game. That took way more time to cultivate.

If I’m being totally honest, there’s no way I would have been able to create a successful business if I kept looking back at the backup plan or looking side to side for distractions. From what I see with many of the clients that I work with now, being all in is when the real shifts happen.

There’s an absolutely different energy that comes from all in. There’s a different energy when you have two feet walking through the door together, fully into what’s possible. When we shed our backup plans and ditch distractions we are left with more energy to put into what we truly desire. If I know one thing for certain, it’s this: where the mind goes the energy flows, and where the energy flows, the money follows.

When we focus on the backup plan, leave one foot out the door or put energy into “here’s what I can do if this doesn’t work out,” the message we’re sending is clear. We are saying that we don’t trust ourselves, our process or our intentions - sometimes all of the above.

I don’t know about you, but I don’t want any relationships in my life (whether with myself, my partner, my friends OR my business) to be built on a lack of trust. Is it even possible for something built without trust to be sustainable? I doubt it. So let’s commit, together, to radical honesty and unwavering trust in ourselves and our businesses. Both feet in.